Well, we’ve had another con, and this time three big publishers were there to say things about manga: Viz, Yen, and Dark Horse. What did they say?
Not much from Viz, which usually saves its big announcements for the summer. They did indicate that one of their recent Weekly Jump digital series, World Trigger, would be getting a physical release this fall. With a plot that features high school students with superpowers taking on invaders from another dimension, it’s hard for me to think of it as anything but ‘Precure for guys’, but I will be interested to see what it’s like – Jump’s really been hitting its stride lately.
The big announcements were from Yen Press, and not just in the manga department. Let’s start with manga, though, as I have a feeling that most of the fandom will be focusing on one particular license, so I’ll save that for the end. King of Eden is by the author best known for collaborating with Naoki Urasawa on Billy Bat and others Takashi Nagasaki (aka Richard Woo). Well, Billy Bat is still unlicensed, but we do have King of Eden, a new horror series with art by SangCheol Lee, who I am totally unfamiliar with. This one looks to be worldwide digital, so my guess is it’s starting in Japan at the same time it does here.
Pandora Hearts is getting an artbook, Odds and Ends, which will be hardcover and have a slipcase, like many Japanese artbooks these days. Everything’s going upscale.
Gou-dere Sora Nagihara is the ecchi title of the con. It’s by Suu Minazuki, creator of Sora no Otoshimono. Our hero is an otaku in love with a fictional character. One day she comes to life before him, but her personality is not quite what he was expecting. She apparently decides to get her new master a harem, or at least help him get some action. This is from Hakusensha’s Young Animal Arashi, as if the description didn’t already tell you that (it was either that or Champion Red). We shall see.
Also from Hakusensha, from their sort of unclassifiable magazine Rakuen Le Paradis (think of it along the lines of Manga Erotics F), we get 14-sai no Koi, which I have been reliably informed is ‘excruciatingly adorable’. It features two 14-year-olds who are very wise and mature for their years… but they’re still 14, and falling in love with each other is going to bring all the awkward that this entails. The author, Fuka Mizutani, is best known here for several yuri stories in various anthologies. This isn’t yuri, but I feel her fans will want to seek it out anyway. It certainly sounds great to me.
Lastly on the manga front, we have a new title by Aki, whose Olympos Yen had previously brought over here, and perhaps best known for Utahime. Elhanburg no Tenshi ran in Shodensha’s Haruca, one of their more obscure josei magazines. Two childhood friends take over a castle supposedly haunted by an angel, but things quickly turn south when a woman becomes involved. Given my experience with Olympos, my hope is to have a better handle on what’s going on with this plot.
And then there’s light novels. Yen has had more success with this genre than any other publisher, something that they did not hesitate to bring up at the con. They’re putting out an omnibus hardcover of the Another novel, which had been released digitally a year or so ago, and whose manga they also released. However, they’re also creating a new imprint just for light noels, Yen On! What will debut from it this fall?
It wouldn’t be a light novel imprint without an awkward, long title that ends in a question mark, so let’s introduce ourselves to Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka?, aka DanMachi, which Yen is releasing over here as ‘Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?’. This seems to be another fantasy series along the lines of Zero’s Familiar, with a boy who wants to be an adventurer meeting a goddess who has trouble getting worshippers. I’ll bet you two to one it’s zany.
However, this was all a prelude to the big announcement.
Yes, you’re not seeing things. To Aru Majutsu no Index, aka A Certain Magical Index. I’m not sure if Yen has licensed all 32+ novels right at the moment… my guess is about 6 with an option for more. But it’s certainly been one of the most requested titles of the last several years, and its spinoff series, A Certain Scientific Railgun, is selling quite well for Seven Seas. (As for the Index manga… trust me, read the books, it’s better.) I’m very interested to see how this sells. The lead male, Touma, is a divisive figure who acquires a harem yet makes no moves on any of them, and also has a story-breaker power he uses at least once per book. The heroine, Index… well, even that’s arguable, as Index may not actually be the series heroine so much as the series mascot. She also has a personality that Western fans have not exactly taken to their bosoms. That said, I really hope that everyone who demanded this series be licensed actually goes out and buys it, because this is a big investment, and kudos to Yen for going for it. Also, it has lots of cool things happening.
Lastly, we have Dark Horse, who added quite a bit of manga, to my surprise. Their continued re-release of CLAMP continues with the Legal Drug series coming out as an omnibus this fall. They’ve also licensed the sequel, Drug & Drop. Both series are published whenever CLAMP feels like it, so it should be easy to catch up with Japan. They’re also starting to digitize the bigger CLAMP titles, such as Card Captor Sakura and Chobits, later this spring.
There’s also the OreImo spinoff Ore no Kouhai ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai (My Kouhai Can’t Be This Cute), which Dark Horse is sensibly retitling OreImo: Kuroneko. This ASCII Mediaworks series runs in Dengeki G’s, and is, as you might guess, focused on Kuroneko’s storyline in this series. Given the way the light novel series recently ended, I will be interested to see if its fandom is still around to get this, but hey, it’s cute and moe as heck.
And we have not one, but TWO titles from Satoshi Kon, whose Tropic of the Sea was released by Vertical recently. Opus came out in the mid-90s right before the author directed Perfect Blue, and was never finished in Tankobon form, though Tokuma Shoten published the ending in in the volume collection, which we’ll be seeing here. There is also Seraphim: 266613336 Wings, which was written by Mamoru Oshii, a creator that I have a lot of issues with. It’s also a mid-90s manga, from Animage magazine, and may I just note that that is an awful lot of wings in the title. If I were an angel, I’d want to cut back to maybe 4, or even less.
So that’a a lot of new stuff. What appeals to you the most?